The people around you WILL impact who you become

This isn’t revelatory or anything particularly special. It’s honestly a round about way for me to remember that I’m free from the things I’ll post about here. It’s long. If you read it all, thank you for reading :slight_smile:

Recently, I found myself deeply enmeshed with an online group that targeted young, new moms and try to sympathize with the chaos. They tell you things like it’s ok to be upset, it’s ok to have bad days, etc.

They seemed to shine a light on how exhausting it was to bring a brand-new tiny human into your home. They seemed to understand adjusting to this lifestyle that is vastly different from the world you lived in just a couple of days before. They presented the group as a safe place online to really talk about the struggles I was having that made me feel supremely alone.

As time passed, the group was growing more and more negative. That I was growing more and more negative. It was like that frog in the pot of boiling water analogy. If you toss a frog in boiling water it’ll try and escape, but if you just slowly increase the heat, it’ll stay.

It became a place where we would pick out every non-perfect thing in our day and talk about it in length with extreme frustration. But nobody really listened. Nobody cared about your story, or your frustration. They just wanted to pick apart your story to allow you to feel justified in your frustration, but that was it. That was the point. Be mad. Feel the rage. Particularly, and almost exclusively, hold onto the rage make everything your spouses fault. While I, thankfully, never got to the spouse hating stage they seemed to want to bring em to, they 100% changed how I viewed my life, and not a second for the better.

I tried to step back. To re-frame my mental image of my life to match how it actually was, not how the group made me see it. As I quietly stepped away, the group grew angry with me. They took my time off the internet and away from the group as a personal slight against them. As I tried to explain I just wanted some time offline, they stalked my family members on Facebook. They sent me screenshots proving they knew were my dad and sister lived and stated they were not afraid to contact them. They threatened me with finding my family. They send me pictures of their homes and cars. I was stalked on Twitch, Discord, anywhere they could find a current or past presence online. I have spent most of this year trying to safely remove myself from that group. With the help of appropriate authorities I’ve done as much as I can. This has been VERY difficult.

An online group. Of people I’ve never met offline.

Here’s what I wanted to say. If the people around you are pointing at every single aspect of your life and telling you it’s a slight against you, and telling you that you need to feel angry and frustrated and and hurt and forgotten and ‘less than,’ they’re wrong. They’re being manipulative and they are lying.

They’re wrong.

Surround yourself with people who want to hear you. Who want to hear what you have to say, but also want to walk with you, through it. People who want to see you come out on the other side a stronger person with a clear head.

Maybe you’re thinking you don’t have people like that. I thought that, too. And, I don’t in real life yet. We’ve moved a lot recently. Might again soon. But, I found Heart Support! A group of people who will sit and listen to you in the darkness, but also walk through it with you, and help you find a way out.

So, why post this now? Because I feel like all of the prickly and parts of my personality are showing. I once posted here about being too loud and opinionated. I often put my foot in my mouth, so to speak. I feel like I grate on everyone around me and am simply tolerated. But I’m posting this to force myself to remember, if you surround yourself with good people, even online, they still love you. Even as I write this, I feel a bit like the man in the Bible who cried “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” If you’re feeling alone in internet land, or in real life, the people here want to help you. Start building your community here.Even if you’re not 100% sure about it yet.


It became a place where we would pick out every non-perfect thing in our day and talk about it in length with extreme frustration. But nobody really listened. Nobody cared about your story, or your frustration. They just wanted to pick apart your story to allow you to feel justified in your frustration, but that was it. That was the point. Be mad. Feel the rage.

Friend, that is such a fair and major point to bring up about supportive communities. Yes, we need safe places where we can talk openly and be heard. Yes, validating each others experiences is an important step. But if validating our experiences becomes a way to justify a desire of not changing anything about it, then it can become so unhealthy as well. Just because it can be easier to stay in a position where we feel more comfortable - even if it means going through unpleasant feelings or situations. You experienced that kind of unhealthy spiral in way that was so off-limits with the stalking and threats. I’m really sorry that happened. But also: I have mad respect to you for being aware at the right moment of how things were turning.

I came to a similar kind of awareness when I was really struggling with eating disorders. Years ago I was part of an online community who shared that common struggle - people who were actively fighting for themselves and willing to feel better. But at some point I could feel that very fragile line between what’s unhealthy or not, only to realize that people were sliding into validating each other’s eating disorder, and not their struggle. It was really helpful to feel less alone and supported at first. But it the long run it could have been so unhealthy to stay there. I left too when I had this weird feeling.

A community is composed of the people who are part of it. And if a majority is willing to keep being comfortable in their discomfort, then supporting each other can become an excuse for something else, just like you described. And if it becomes a way to be accepted and part of a group, that’s even worse. It’s only human, it’s understandable. But good call for being aware of that and stepping away when you had to.

Your entire message here is powerful. Through experiences like the one you had, lessons can be learned. I know what follows is not something you brought up directly in your message, but I want to: I truly respect your level of self-awareness right now. It’s a strength that you have, and it has to be acknowledged as well. I hope you are aware of that.

I am glad you are here. Glad you are part of HS community. Without any pressure, and without any strings attached. :wink:

Thank you for posting this. :hrtlegolove:


I can’t believe they stalked you IRL. What was it that had them so invested in your complicity?? That’s bonkers.

A group that encourages rage and hate is bad. The members will never move on if they hang onto the hate. Even as I write that I think it sounds cheesy, but I’ve been working really hard to let go of my long-held resentments this year, and it’s made a huge difference in my life. I’m slower to anger, and when I do get angry it hurts more. Rage is intoxicating and a really hard habit to break. It fosters self-justification, and we all like to feel right when we’ve been wronged.

Although I don’t think I was destined to finish college, the people I surrounded myself with freshman year didn’t help me any. They were like @Micro’s group. We were all lost and depressed, and we bonded over that, but we wallowed in it instead of trying to build each other up. Anytime someone said they’d be cramming for a test, the collective response was “Oh, well that sucks.” Out of about a dozen of us, I was one of 3 who stayed in school after freshman year, and I dropped out the following semester.

HeartSupport is different. We welcome the lost and depressed and broken, we share our stories and feel their pain, but then we tell stories of how we overcame it, or we give our thoughts on the situations from outsider perspectives. Sometimes HS provides the answers people need, but most of the time it’s a good place for them to find comfort and direction, and that’s something I’ve never encountered in its pure form anywhere else.

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(lots of crazy edits here because my toddler had a hayday on the keyboard when i got up for 4 seconds!)

the switch from supportive to just a pit of negativity was SO SO slow! Like you, I’m not sure what exactly tipped me off to it. But it was just an underlying “ehhhhh this feels weird.” Very hard to explain after being in the group for so long, but I am glad to know that made sense to someone else!

^^ that right there. I tried to start a weekly deal where we take a few seconds and talk about something good we were looking forward to, or something cool that happened. Even the smallest things, and it just became another way to spin everything down. I never wanted to ignore our shared struggle of being new mothers and all the carious ways that impacted all aspects of our lives. But I didn’t want that to be my whole life. There’s more than the darkness!

Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad to be here, too!


They really take people leaving personally. It wasn’t about them at all, it was about my mental health. But that’s an offensive idea to some. I think it comes from them knowing, without realizing it, that it’s not a great place to be. But maybe they feel stuck too? A lot of them need a lot of help and don’t have access to it. However, my family had NOTHING to do with any of that! BONKERS is the perfect word!!

Rage is defiantly intoxicating! It felt really great to have my frustrations and anger validated! For a while, I really liked it. But then, when I tried to gain perspective, the group just went back to rage. It’s very hard to shake that! I don’t think what you said was cheesy at all. I’m glad you’re working on it and seem to be making great progress based of your perspective here!!

It’s sort of strange when the beginning of the friendship is all the dark parts in your life. I think that’s a hard space to navigate. At least that’s how I feel about it now. I’m so glad to have found Heart Support! Perspective outside of blind rage, frustration, and people who actually love you and what to see you come out better for it all. What a great place!!

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